By Doug Goldring on Sun, 09/12/2010
I have a lot of friends who really get into the quality of the leather in their bags and cases. I have to admit that I have never been one of those people. Sure, I like a nice looking case just as much as anyone, but for me, it is generally much more about function than form. Unlike the old Saturday Night Live sketch, Fernando, I think it is better for a case to work well than look nice. Which is why I was so taken aback by how drawn to Saddleback leather I was the first time I saw images of their bags on the Internet. One look and I knew I had to check this out.
I spoke with the folks at Saddleback Leather (as an aside, it is notable that their name is not Saddleback Saddleback Cases, but Saddleback Leather). Although they do not have an extensive line of cases for mobile devices, they do feature an iPad sleeve and universal mobile device/gadget sleeve. The folks at Saddleback Leather were kind enough to send those along for me to check out.
My first impression of the sleeves when they arrived pretty well mirrored my first impression of the images on the web site. In short, there is really some incredible leather and craftsmanship in these cases. As far as the sleeves themselves…well, I have used better and I have used worse. I typically prefer a case which allows me to use my device without removing it from the case...I am just a little too prone to dropping expensive devices for this type of case. As such, I rarely use sleeves, so these really just did not fit my typical usage. That is not to say, however, that they would not be perfect for you. I know a lot of you reading this love sleeve style cases, and if that is you then these are really extremely well made cases.
My only other complaint is that the inside of the case is not padded or covered with any kind of material. This means the inside is composed of the same leather as the outside of the case. This made me more than a bit nervous about scratching the screen on my device as I slid it in and out of the case.
Both cases are made from a single piece of extremely high quality leather. This is folded to create the sleeve. A heavy stitching runs across the sides, holding everything together snug and secure. The smaller mobile device sleeve also has a cutout on the bottom, allowing you to push up on your device in order to easily remove it from the sleeve.
In addition to being really impressed by the quality of the cases, I was also blown away by the company themselves. One look at their website and you can instantly tell that the folks behind Saddleback Leather absolutely love what they do. Not only that, but they clearly have fun doing it. Just take a look at the tongue-in-cheek manner in which they describe their products, or their incredible back story.
It is a real shame that these sleeves just do not meet my needs, because in every other way, they rank among the highest quality cases I have used. I am truly looking forward to the opportunity to check out more of their offerings.
The Saddleback iPad Sleeve is available from Saddleback Leather for $55.00 and comes in four color options (I chose the tobacco brown which looks fantastic). The small gadget pouch, which is perfect for most mobile devices costs $31.00, and is available in all of the same color options as the larger iPad sleeve, also from Saddleback Leather.